Protect Your Property from Deed Fraud
Report Fraud Online
Deed fraud happens when criminals record fraudulent deeds, mortgages or other liens against a property without the owner’s knowledge or consent. Anyone can be a victim of deed fraud, but seniors, immigrants, and people of color are most at risk.
Deed fraud is a serious crime. The City Register’s Office at the Department of Finance reviews documents submitted for recording and reports suspicious activity to the Sheriff’s Office for investigation, but you can take action to protect yourself from deed fraud.How to Prevent Deed Fraud?
There are two key steps every New Yorker should take to prevent deed fraud:
- Check your property's deed: Check the City Register’s records at least once a year to make sure that no deeds or mortgages have been recorded on your property without your consent. Visit ACRIS to check your deed for properties located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan & Queens. Visit the Richmond County Clerk’s website to check your deed if your property is located in Staten Island. You will need to know your property’s borough, block, and lot number, which can be found at www.nyc.gov/bbl or on your most recent property tax bill.
Additional Steps You Can Take to Prevent Deed Fraud
- Make sure that the Department of Finance has the correct mailing address for you or the person who should receive notices about your property.
- Contact the Department of Finance if you stop receiving property tax bills and the Department of Environmental Protection if you stop receiving water bills.
- If your property is vacant, check it often to make sure it is not occupied illegally.
- Ask someone you trust to look after your house if you are going to be away for a long period of time.
- Do not let mail pile up if you are going out of town.
- Make sure your will clearly states who should inherit your property when you pass away.
- When a family member passes away and someone else inherits the property, make sure you update the deed with the new owner’s name.
- Buy title insurance. It's a one-time fee that varies depending on the purchase value of your home.
- Discuss with your trusted family members or consult a lawyer before making any decisions that affect ownership of your property, such as adding or removing someone from a deed or taking out a new mortgage, reverse mortgage, or second mortgage.
What to Do If You Think You May Be a Victim of Deed Fraud:
- Act quickly! Report fraud to the Sheriff's Office online or by calling (718)707-2100
- Get a certified copy of the fraudulent document via ACRIS or by visiting the City Register, if your property is located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx.
- If your property is located in Staten Island, contact the Richmond County Clerk.
- Contact the district attorney’s office in the borough where the property is located and report the crime.
- You may want to consult an attorney to confirm your ownership in the property.